Unhealthy view of childhood diets

27th October 2000 at 01:00
I WAS so annoyed when I read Dr Dee Dawson's comments on schools being responsible for helping to create anorexic children (TES, October 13). Talk about not being able to do right for doing wrong!

I teach in a primary school in an area which houses mainly people on low incomes and single-parent families. Our school promotes healthy eating and is about to launch a tuck shop where fruit, wholemeal sandwiches and other healthy alternatives to sweets and crisps can be purchased.

We realise that children need fat in their diet but a lot of these children never eat fresh fruit or vegetables and already have a high amount of fat in their diet.

I was horrified to discover that several children in my class had never eaten a fresh banana, did not recognise a cauliflower and admitted they rarely ate breakfast onschool days.

I suffered from anorexia nervosa myself in my early teens, I weighed less than five stones at the worst point and death was almost certainly on the cards. It was only when a doctor told me it was unlikely I would reach my 17th birthday that I started to make the effort to eat.

I was being educated at school about nutrition at the time but this had nothing to do with the disease. The trigger in my case was overhearing a boy describe me as fat. Young people have always been obsessed with self image and appearance and always will be.

Yes - give them the freedom to eat Mars bars, McDonalds, chips etc. but please do leave the healthy eating posters up and prevent the cycle of ignorance about what food is good for you from being repeated over and over.

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